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In 1997 Australia became infamous because of the rapid rise of the overtly racist Pauline Hanson's One Nation party. Following a wave of anti-racist protests, One Nation went into decline but Hansonism is far from dead in Australia.
We, the undersigned, strongly oppose the new laws and regulations introduced by the Liberal-National federal government. They are racist and an affront to basic human solidarity, and it is utterly despicable of the Labor opposition to support such measures. In particular we condemn:
1. Regulations recently made by immigration minister Philip Ruddock that will offer approved refugees only three-year temporary visas, instead of permanent residence. This racist proposal was first advocated by One Nation.
2. The Border Protection Bill, which toughens the already inhumane rules on the treatment of "boat people", removes refugee decisions from rule of law, criminalises refugees and gives the government the power to evade its responsibilities to refugees under international conventions by intercepting suspected "boat people" in international waters.
We also demand the end of mandatory detention of "boat people" introduced by the Labor federal government in 1992. This law, which has been condemned by the Uniting Church as racist, has kept hundreds of families seeking asylum locked up in remote detention camps, sometimes for several years, while their applications for asylum are being processed. These detained asylum seekers are overwhelmingly from countries in the Third World and have fled severe political persecution, war and economic crisis. There is no mandatory detention of other "illegal migrants", most of whom come from wealthy countries.
We urge all anti-racists to fight this latest wave of racism.
Signatories: Lisa Macdonald, editor, Green Left Weekly; Max Lane, Asia Pacific Institute for Democracy and Development; Wendy Robertson, national coordinator, Resistance; John Percy, national secretary, Democratic Socialist Party; Pip Hinman, national secretary, Action in Solidarity with Indonesia and East Timor; Dr Tim Anderson, lecturer, University of Sydney; Klaas Woldring; Debbie Brennan, Radical Women; Alison Thorne, Freedom Socialist Party; Peter Hicks, musician; Geoff Francis, songwriter; Leon Parissi; Joan Silk; Colin Long, secretary, People's Committee for Melbourne; Yvonne Francis, Nuclear Disarmament Party; Peter Boyle; Iggy Kim; Victorian Deaths in Custody Watch Committee; Cameron Parker; Lucy de Petro; Jodie Goodman; Renfrey Clarke; Dr Dorothy Bruck, Psychology Dept., Victoria University; John Tully; Doug Lorimer; Bimal Man Shrestha; Bellana Shrestha; Zanny Begg; Marilyn Capper, administrator, School of Drama, Victorian College of the Arts (VCA); Lauren Bain, program manager, Corporate and Public Programs, The Asialink Centre; Tracey Claire, School of Drama, VCA; Dr Denise Varney, School of Studies in Creative Arts, VCA; Trish Hayes; Dr Kevin Brophy, coordinator, Creative Writing Program, School of Studies in Creative Arts, VCA; Shiffi Blustein; Toby Ovadia; Don Walters; Pamela Curr; Bree K. Taylor; Kate Emery; Paul Hayes; Mary-Jo O'Rourke; Claire O'Connor; Laurie Forde; Desley Forde; Brendan O'Reilly; Felicity Lang; Micy Lewis; Joan Pollock, lecturer, VCA; Shelley Marshall; Jacqui Basheer; Kath Gelber; Vannessa Hearman; Robert Fabian; Adam Milewski; Noeline Nabulivou-McCormack; Joshua Young; Gavro Lakic; James Robert Dixon; David O'Connell; Mary Lou Pavlovic; Therese Doyle, Green Party councillor, Concord; Roger Markwick, senior research associate, Department of Government, University of Sydney; Rizan Nadir, Committee in Defence of Iraqi Women (CDIW); Fahris Mahmood, Worker Communist Party of Iraq; Pia van de Zandt; Jennifer Kent; Jane Higgins; Kim Bullimore, Aboriginal activist; Phil Shannon, Community and Public Sector Union delegate; Peter Perkins, Rail Tram & Bus Union; Allen Jennings, UNDP, Vietnam; Barry Healy; Annolies Truman; Sigrid Borke, Bayside branch, Progressive Labour Party (PLP); Bill Ireland, Bayside branch, PLP; Leah Beesley; Rizan Nazdir, CDIW; Fahris Mahmood, Worker Communist Party of Iraq; Peter McGregor, lecturer, University of Western Sydney; Susan Locke, chairperson, Friends of NLD Australia; Meital Katz; Tanya Howard, executive editorial officer, Australian Professional Society on Alcohol and Other Drugs; Michelle Burrell, Kingsford Legal Centre; Adele Murdolo, Working Women's Health; Brendan O'Kane, Sydney branch secretary, PLP; Jamie Parker, convenor, Greens NSW, Leichhardt Council councillor; Lee Rhiannon, NSW Legislative Council member; Leigh Jones and Chris Dole, Hunter Christian Institute; Donald Anderson, Scottish Republican Socialist Movement; Tracy Sorensen; Alya Nusbaum; Mark Koronczyk; Colm O'Connor; Bob Berghout, vice-president, National Tertiary Education Industry Union, Newcastle branch.